Do you and your team members lose track of the things you discussed in your project meetings? Who was to complete that action item? Who owns that risk? What did we decide to do? Sound familiar? Let's talk about how to master meeting minutes.
When I published my blog post entitled Four Meeting Problems, I received several questions about recording minutes. Questions included:
Allow me to share a few tips. I am reminded of George Orwell's comment: "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." For both newbies as well as experienced project managers, it is good to get back to the basics.
Some project managers prefer to scribe themselves. These individuals serve as facilitator and scribe. However, for meetings with seven or more people, I strongly recommend another person scribe.
Think of meetings as opportunities for personal development of a project administrator or junior project manager. As they scribe, they learn about the company, its culture, team dynamics, and the project itself.
"Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." —George Orwell
Listening and capturing the critical aspects of a meeting is a tough job. Here are a few attributes you should look for in a scribe.
Minutes should include every word spoken in a meeting. Rather, the minutes should be concise and include the following:
Watch this YouTube Video: Four Things to Include in Your Meeting Minutes (4:13)
The meeting facilitator, often the project manager, is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the minutes. How can project managers ensure quality minutes?
If you use word processing documents, store the minutes in a predefined location. Make sure your team members have access.
You may wish to capture and transfer RAIDs into a project information system. The system should allow for easy retrieval and navigation. There are numerous tools on the market for this purpose. These tools allow project team members to view RAIDs within a project or across a program (e.g., multiple projects being managed toward a common set of goals).
Review your projects. What are your communication problems? Are the problems related to poor minutes? Determine how you can improve the process of capturing meeting minutes.
Become a more effective project risk manager.